An Italian restaurant with exquisite food and scenic views can be found in south towns of Buffalo, right on the shores of Lake Erie. I know of people who go there every week for their Sunday brunch. I was not there on a Sunday, but I did enjoy a good evening meal at Lucia on the Lake.
Lucia’s opened in 2015 by Jay Pasquarella and his business partner Angelo Canna, Jr., at the former location of the popular McKenzie’s Bar & Grill. Lucia’s is an Italian restaurant with an emphasis on steak and seafood. The menu provides a variety of pasta dishes, most featuring seafood. The steak selection include Ribeye, Kansas City Strip and Filet Mignon. Pasquarella named the restaurant after his daughter.
Complimentary with the meal is a load of Italian bread. Our loaf was warm, crispy on the outside and soft and chewy on the inside. Served with butter and olive oil with seasonings as a dip, it was a great way to start the meal. For an appetizer, we had stuffed hot peppers. The peppers lightly grilled and were mildly spicy. They were stuffed to the gills with a three cheese blend, although the Ricotta dominated. Overall, I was happy with the preparation.
Our next course was a couple of salads. I ordered a Caesar Salad while my companion ordered the house salad. The waitress asked me if I wanted anchovies with my salad. As that is the classic way a Caesar Salad is served, I said yes. I was not prepared for what I got.
The original Caesar salad mixed the anchovies in with the dressing, providing flavor without dominating the taste. Often anchovies are served on top, like at Lucia’s. But usually, it is a couple. What I got was a large pile of anchovies on top of the salad.
Despite that, I enjoyed the salad. The anchovies were only a little salty and were not overpoweringly strong. But there was way too much for the salad. I ended up cutting them up and alternating bites of them with the salad. My companion gave her salad a good review. In addition to mixed greens, vegetables, and it had some chickpeas and a generous amount crumbled blue cheese on top. She especially liked the cheese, commenting that it made the salad quite good.
Next up was the main course. I had the Scallop Risotto and my companion had the Filet Mignon. The Filet Mignon was perfect. She ordered it medium rare and that is exactly the way it came out. Given a selection of sauces, my friend chose the blue cheese. She thought it went really well with the steak.
The risotto on the other hand, I had issues with. The scallops were prepared well – cooked through but still tender and flavorful. The risotto was cooked al dente and was rich and creamy. There was a lot of cheese in that risotto. The problem was that it was far too salty. The salt dominated the taste of the scallops, overpowering it. The risotto was noticeably salty as well. This diminished my enjoyment of the dish. I liked the richness of the risotto. Although it was so rich (and perhaps because I had too much bread earlier) that I ended up taking a good portion of it home.
My companion and I desired some more vegetables, so we ordered a side of Brussels Sprouts. These were fantastic. Roasted to perfection, it had no other seasonings besides oil, salt and pepper. It did not need them.
Lucia’s has a small dessert menu. Desiring something light, I went with the Peanut Butter pie. My companion, also desiring something light, ordered the Lemon Ricotta cake. The pie was indeed very light. With a chocolate crumb crust and a strong peanut butter taste, it was a great way to end the meal. The ricotta cake had a good lemon flavor but was a way too sweet for me. It was also dense. Too dense for my companion and she ended up taking it home to eat another day.
We both ordered cocktails. I ordered the Buffalo’ 66 and my companion ordered the Lemon Drop. Buffalo’ 66 consists of Raspberry Vodka mixed in Blackberry and Cranberry juice. The name is probably a reference to the 1998 movie. I thoroughly enjoyed it. Despite the juices, it was only slightly sweet. And you could barely taste the alcohol.
But that was deceptive, as after a few sips it had completely knocked me out. Normally I order a couple of cocktails, but that night I nursed the one drink the whole meal through. My companion greatly enjoyed her Lemon Drop, finding it surprisingly and pleasantly tart.
Lucia’s has a fantastic atmosphere. The dining area feels high class. The area we were in had large windows, which I gather provide a great view of the lake. As we were there during the winter and at night, we were not able to enjoy the scenery. The owner is proud of the fact that every seat in the restaurant has a good view. During the summer, there is a rooftop patio which must have a great view. Except for that one dish, the food was superb. The wait staff was pleasant and helpful. They know the menu well and provided several insightful suggestions. I do recommend Lucia’s on the Lake.